You have done an incredible act of kindness in offering a rescue dog a new forever home. This can be a difficult transition, below are my top tips to smooth the way.
- Firstly, carry out some prior research on the breed type of the dog you have possibly reserved. If a mixed breed, can you guess what mixes of dog maybe there. By having an idea of breed types you can research instinctual needs and common characteristics. You are then one step ahead with knowing your new dog’s needs, the type of walking equipment, type of bed it may prefer and exercise requirements prior to arrival.
- Ensure your garden is 100% escape proof. This should be being checked by the rehoming establishment. Replace any broken fencing and remove bins or items which are close to a fence in which a dog can use to climb over.
- Keep good routines and start as you mean to go on. The first two weeks is a honeymoon period, keep consistent with what your house rules will be. For example if you do not wish your new dog to be allowed upstairs or on the furniture then start this straight away, mixed messages are very confusing for the dog and create further anxiety within their new home.
- Adaptil collars, plugs in’s or sprays can help anxiety with new situations.
Ensure the home is a calm place on arrival, keep visitors to a low number in the first few days until your dog has settled.
- Never use a crate or bed as a punishment. Dogs love a covered crate if positively conditioned and is a safety den for them. Their bed should be a secure safe place also. If you need to direct and train your dog to it’s bed, use up beat voice tones and positively reward building up value for the bed as a nice place to be.
- Introduce your new dog to your own dog outside the house on neutral territory and take for a walk prior to entering the home. Utilise boundaries with baby gates and pens whilst all settle with the changes that are happening within the household. Do not rush this and force happy families, it takes time.
- Allow your new dog time to sniff and look around its new home in a quiet undisturbed way.
- Use a lead and calmly walk around your garden to sniff.
- Take you dog out for a short walk to sniff the surrounding area.
- Keep all dog toys and food chews away especially if you have other dogs or animals until you know your new dog better and also with how your own dog will react.
- Allow quiet introduction to children and other members of the household and positively reward whilst this is happening.
- Have a vet check to double check all is well health wise.
- Make sure your other pets receive attention too.
- Watch your dog closely and take note of any anxious body languages. Your new dog maybe uncertain and a bit fearful of the outside world in general or with unknown dogs. Take your time with letting your dog adjust and give plenty of reward based training around these possible fearful situations.
- Feed your new dog away from hustle and bustle until it has settled in.
- Have a blanket or item of yours and place into it’s new bed. This helps the bonding process.
- Do not leave your dog alone in the house until it has settled into the new surroundings, but also do not allow constant shadowing! Nip to other rooms or upstairs and increase periods away gradually over some weeks.
Introduce as much interactive play as you can, you will get to know your dog’s personality this way and build your dog’s confidence.
- Start some basic obedience in quiet surroundings this will help you bond with your new dog.
- It can take many weeks to months for your new rescue dog to build up a trust in you and settle fully into it’s new environment. With lots of patience, understanding and kind consistent parenting from you, you and your new unique friend will enjoy your lives together to the full.